Associate Professor, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON. Born: Barbados.
Dr. Juliet Daniel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at McMaster University, where she has taught since 1999. Dr. Daniel teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on molecular and cell biology.
Dr. Daniel’s interest is in cancer biology, with a focus on Cadherin-mediated cell adhesion, signal transduction and tumor metastasis. After completing her doctorate at UBC in Microbiology in 1994, she was awarded a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at St. Jude Children’’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Her most significant discovery to date in the cancer biology field was her discovery and naming of a new gene “Kaiso”, coined from the popular Caribbean music “calypso”. With this discovery she introduced ‘calypso’ into science.
Dr. Daniel is actively involved in the Afro-Caribbean Canadian community in Hamilton & Toronto and serves on several committees including, The African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri Inc. (ACCPI) Scholarship Committee that annually awards scholarships to minority students entering university or institutions of higher learning. She also supports the student-led McMaster WISE (Women in Science & Engineering) Initiative since its inception in 2007, and the National Let’s Talk Science Program that promotes and encourages elementary and middle-school youth to pursue careers in science. In 2007, along with three other minority professional women from Toronto, Dr. Daniel co-founded the Canadian Multicultural LEAD Organization. The L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Empowerment, Achievement, Determination) Program is for Grade 11-12 students considering their future education and employment options. It is designed to nurture confidence and hope in minority youth, empowering them on the path to productive lifestyle successes. She also co-organized the 1st and 2nd Annual Visions of Science (VoS) Symposium at McMaster along with the VoS founder and Director, Mr. Francis Jeffers.
Honours: Several academic and research awards including, the Gold Crown of Merit for Cancer Research, Barbados National Honor, Barbados (2010); Errol Walton Barrow Award of Excellence, Barbados Ball Canada Aid, Toronto (2009); African Canadian Achievement Award of Excellence in Science, Toronto(2008); inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); the John C. Holland Award for Professional Achievement, Hamilton BHM (2005); Minority Scholar Award, American Association for Cancer Research (2004); Ontario Premier Research Excellence Award, McMaster (2001-2006); NSERC pre- (1989-91) & post- (1994-96) doctoral scholarships.
Works: Dr. Daniel’s work has been published in a number of leading scientific journals including Nature Cell Biology; Journal of Cell Science; Journal of Cell Biology; Journal of Biological Chemistry; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Oncogene; Experimental Cell Research; Hybridoma.
Review in: Millennium Minds (2000).
Education: PhD, Microbiology, University of British Columbia (1994); BSc, Life Sciences, Queen’s University (1987).
Motto: “It is our attitude and not our aptitude that determines our altitude.”
Favourite books? I am an eclectic reader and like too many books so I can’t choose one! However, of the recent ones I read, my favourites were Lawrence Hill’s Book of Negroes, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, and Richard Wright’s Clara Callan. I loved these books because the main characters in each book showed incredible courage, faith and fortitude despite their challenges.
Favourite quote? Again, too many to mention! But one notable one is “Once a mind has been stretched by a new idea it can never return to its original size.” -O.W. Holmes.
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? I have always loved French food, wine and culture so I would love to spend at least 6 months in France immersed in the food and culture so that I could become truly fluent in French!!
Who inspires you? Anyone who has overcome adversity, maintained a positive attitude, and turned their stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Why do you do what you do? I am an inquisitive person by nature and am absolutely fascinated by the fact that one single defect in a gene or protein could cause cancer or other human diseases. So I enjoy spending my days mentoring students and sharing my passion for research, and trying to figure out how the cell works. Needless to say, every time scientists think we understand the cell, we realize there is still so much more that we do not understand!